February 15, 2018 / 2:50 PM / in a year

Bosnia hopes to join WTO in mid-2018 if completes talks with Russia

FILE PHOTO - A World Trade Organization (WTO) logo is pictured on their headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, June 3, 2016. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

SARAJEVO (Reuters) - Bosnia expects to overcome obstacles from Russia to its membership of the World Trade Organisation and join the group in mid-2018, Foreign Trade Minister Mirko Sarovic said on Thursday.

Bosnia’s progress towards the accession of the WTO has been blocked since 2013 over requests relating to the access to its market by Brazil, Russia and Ukraine. The negotiations with Brazil, Ukraine and another 12 countries have been completed but they are still going on with Russia.

The Balkan country applied for the membership in 1999, following its devastating war in the 1990s, when it became an observer.

“The Russian side wants a larger access under favourable conditions to the market of Bosnia and Herzegovina,” Sarovic told Reuters. “Our expectations are that we’ll complete the work until mid-2018.”

Sarovic led a Bosnian delegation during a meeting last week with WTO officials in Geneva. He said they supported the swift conclusion of the negotiations and pledged that WTO General Council could adopt the accession package before the summer break if an agreement was reached on the few outstanding issues.

Reporting by Daria Sito-Sucic; Editing by Alison Williams

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